“We won’t hire you if you’re out of work”

Many companies are only hiring people who already have jobs.  The unemployed need not apply.

I can see how this might make sense for an individual company.  Human resources managers are flooded with applicants for every job, they don’t have time to look at all the applications, so this is a quick and dirty way reduce the pile of applications to a manageable size. And no matter how arbitrary they are, there still will be plenty of qualified applicants left.  Age discrimination is not legal, but this is.

What a waste for the country as a whole!  There are people who want to work, who are well-qualified to work, but we can’t make use of their talents.  And over time this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The longer you are unable to work in your field, the more you fall behind.  You can take courses to keep up, as many are doing, but what good is that if employers don’t recognize them?

This is something to keep in mind the next time you read about some congressman or senator saying unemployment benefits make people lazy, or the retirement age needs to be raised from 67 to 69.

Congress is considering an economic incentives bill for small business.  If they provide incentives for hiring, they ought to make a distinction between hiring someone who is out of work and hiring someone away from another business.

Click on Only the Employed Need Apply for a Wall Street Journal report.

Click on Disturbing Job Ads: ‘The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered’ for a Huffington Post report.

Click on The View From Your Recession for an individual’s experience.

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